Mother who tortured her baby son is battered with garden hose and wooden plank by fellow women prisonersClaire Biggs had missiles hurled at her by inmatesBiggs jailed for eight years for child cruelty in 2009Her son died at just eight weeks old after suffering horrific abuse
Claire Biggs was battered by inmates who hated her because of her crimes against her baby boy
A crack addict mother jailed for violently beating her baby son was battered by fellow prisoners carrying out reprisals against her.
Inmates at a women-only jail subjected 29-year-old Claire Biggs to a punishment beating after hurling missiles at her, a court heard.
Katie Burston, 26, was among the baying mob who surrounded Miss Biggs and another unpopular prisoner as the pair cowered inside a shed being pelted with missiles.
Miss Biggs had been jailed in 2009 for eight years for child cruelty after the death of her eight-week-old son who suffered broken ribs, a broken shoulder and a broken wrist.
In a case that echoed the failings of the case of Baby P, the drug addict and her violent sex offender boyfriend were allowed to look after baby Rhys Biggs, even though Biggs had had her first child taken away from her because of her drug habit.
Biggs was rushed to hospital bleeding from a head wound and bruises on her body after she was attacked with a metal bar in the garden of the HMP Send near Woking, Surrey.
Burston of Paignton, Devon, appeared for sentence after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to assault causing actual bodily harm.
Guildford Crown Court was told that Miss Biggs, now 30, from Newham, East London, was hated by other inmates because of her crimes against her eight-week-old son.
Robin Sellers, prosecuting, said: “Miss Biggs was unpopular in prison because of the nature of her conviction.”
On the day of the attack, on July 31 last year she and another disliked inmate Dawn Gregory were put on a gardening project, to the fury of other prisoners.
Mr Sellers said that during the course of their duties, Miss Biggs and Ms Gregory had to go to a shed – but found themselves unable to get out after coming under siege from other inmates.
“The shed was subject to impacts from stones,” he said.
The last picture taken of Rhys Biggs three days before he died. His mother subjected to him to appalling injuries, including broken ribs
Then a group of prisoners armed with gardening tools advanced on the two victims.
“Miss Biggs was attacked with a hose extension and a piece of wood,” said Mr Sellers.
The court heard that Miss Biggs was taken to hospital after suffering a cut nearly five centimetres long on her forehead plus bruising to the back of her head and other parts of her body.
In a victim impact statement, the injured woman said: “My injuries took a week to heal.”
Miss Biggs said she had been left feeling extremely nervous and had to be accompanied everywhere either by a friendly inmate or a prison officer.
Mr Sellers said: “Ms Burston’s plea of guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm has been put on the basis of joint enterprise.”
The court was told that at the time of the attack former heroin addict Burston had been serving a jail sentence of two years and eight months after pleading guilty to robbery and attempted robbery in Exeter.
She was jailed in the autumn of 2010 at Exeter Crown Court for hitting a 73-year-old disabled man, confined to a wheel chair, at his home in Exeter, and stealing his keys on August 14, 2010 – after unsuccessfully trying to rob him two days earlier.
Jeremy Sharples, defending, said his client had now been released on licence from prison and was off drugs.
Guildford Crown Court, where jurors heard Biggs was hated by other inmates because of the nature of her crime
He said she had a seven-year-old son and was leading an honest life – determined to put the past behind her – although she had a number of health problems.
Referring to the prison attack, Mr Sharples said: “She didn’t strike anyone with a weapon, although she accepts joint enterprise and core responsibility.”
The court heard that another woman, aged 37, had received a 12-month sentence for a more serious part in the incident.
But Judge Christopher Critchlow said he would spare Burston a further spell behind bars.
“You now realise that what you did was inexcusable and wrong,” he said.
Judge Critchlow said that Miss Biggs had not deserved to be attacked by fellow prisoners whatever her crimes.
But he said that he was impressed with Burston’s progress since she had been released from jail.
Burston was sentenced to 10 months jail, suspended for two years.
She was also ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work and instructed to undergo 12 months supervision from the probation service.